Westchester Choral Society


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News for March 2018

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WCS Preparing Rutter's "Gloria," Folk Songs for Spring

Despite frigid temperatures, Westchester Choral Society members are warming up their vocal chords. Following a successful joint performance of Brahms' "Ein deutsches Requiem" with the Chappaqua Orchestra on a snowy afternoon in early December afternoon, WCS looks ahead to their spring concert.

On May 12, at 4 p.m., at Rye Presbyterian Church, WCS will treat audience members to a moving rendition of John Rutter's "Gloria," with piano and organ accompaniment. The performance will also include a collection of folk song arrangements by Rutter called "The Sprig of Thyme."

Rutter's "Gloria" is a musical setting of parts of the Latin "Gloria." He was commissioned to compose it in 1974 by Mel Olson, an American choral conductor known for introducing many of Rutter's works to the U.S.



WCS Member Spotlight

Jayne Litton: Professional Violinist, Volunteer Vocalist

Jayne Litton hadn’t sung since college, and she missed having music in her life. But, thanks to a well-timed Google search for “choruses in Westchester County,” Jayne Litton learned about the Westchester Choral Society. (Westchester Chorale also showed up in the list of results, but Jayne was sold on the opportunity to prepare and perform Brahms’ Requiem.) She attended the group’s first open rehearsal WCS, subsequently scheduled an audition, and joined as a second soprano in September 2017.

“I auditioned with ‘Danny Boy,’ which is one of my father’s favorite songs, the first song I learned on the violin, and something I’m comfortable with,” she said.

Though only in her second “semester” as a WCS member, Jayne is no stranger to music—she started playing the violin at age 7. The introduction to the instrument also involved an invitation at just the right time.

“I was working on math at school, and someone came in and said there was a music teacher coming in and that they had found a bunch of old instruments,” she said. “I thought they meant the lessons were starting right then—and I hated math—so my hand shot right up in the air.”

Shortly after starting private lessons and studying music theory, Jayne joined a youth orchestra in her hometown of Leicester, England, about 100 miles north of London. She attended music school in London, and eventually joined the Bournemouth Symphony, performing and touring with the group for five years.

In 1994, Jayne and her family moved to Dallas, and then to Scarsdale, N.Y., 12 years later, when her children were 7 and 10. Now, Jayne lives in White Plains, where she enjoys volunteering each week in the emergency room at White Plains Hospital. Her son, Michael, is a freshman at Keene State College in New Hampshire, and her daughter, Rachel, is a senior at Boston University. Both are musically inclined—Michael plays guitar and Rachel sings and plays the piano.

Following on the heels of a moving performance of the Brahms’ Requiem with a full orchestra, Jayne looks forward to future concerts with WCS. Not only does she appreciate the opportunity to sing, she noticed right away how friendly and open her fellow choristers are.

“I was looking for a hobby, and my first impression of the chorus that first night was, ‘This is perfect,’” she said. “It’s wonderful to be able to sing lovely music with nice people and a great music director.”

Jayne is also inspired by the longevity of the chorus and the longstanding membership of many of its singers.

“I may be a newcomer now, but as long as I live in this area, I have my Tuesday evening plans all set,” she said.

   At her first WCS rehearsal in September 2017, Jayne Litton, right, met Junko Kumagai, also a new member.

At her first WCS rehearsal in September 2017, Jayne Litton, right, met Junko Kumagai, also a new member.